In the aftermath of the massacre of 26 people in a small-town Texas church, you might have seen that the killer used a gun called an AR-15. It’s a popular weapon—relatively easy to use, endlessly customizable, military in appearance. How popular? It’s the same gun that a killer used in the massacre of 58 people at a Las Vegas concert last month, and by the killer who murdered 49 people in a nightclub in Orlando, and the one at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. And the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. And the party in San Bernardino, California.
Oh, but wait: It’s also the gun, apparently, that someone in Texas used to shoot back at the killer at First Baptist Church, accurately enough to pinpoint places his tactical vest didn’t protect. “We keep hearing that AR’s are useless for self-defense, that they’re simply ‘weapons of war,’ useful only for mass killing. This is simply not true,” writes David French at The National Review. He didn’t save lives inside the church, French goes on to say, but this straight-from-the-gun-advocate-storybook good guy with a gun “did stop the shooter and prevented him from harming anyone else. He did so with exactly the kind of weapon that the gun control lobby would like to deny to law-abiding Americans.”